Cover Letter Overview

A cover letter is a one-page document you submit with your resume and application. The purpose of your cover letter is to provide a brief introduction of yourself and summarize your professional experience. It is also your opportunity to answer the question, “Why should I hire you?” Your cover letter gives you the chance to speak directly on how your experience, skills, and accomplishments align with the position you are pursuing. Be sure to tie your experience directly to the job description. Your cover letter allows you to expand on your experience and demonstrate how you are a fit for the position and organization.

  • Your cover letter should be a professional, one-page document using proper grammar with no spelling or punctuation errors.
  • Use a business letter format when writing your cover letter. You can view a sample cover letter in our Effective Resumes, Cover Letters, and LinkedIn Profiles Guide.
  • Avoid using “To Whom It May Concern” when addressing your letter. Find a recruiter or manager to address the letter so that it is more personalized. If you cannot find a name, it is acceptable to use “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Hiring Committee” for example.
  • Your cover letter should be no longer than 1 page consisting of 3-4 paragraphs. This includes an introduction identifying the position and organization you are applying for, 1-2 body paragraphs highlighting your qualifications as it relates to the position, and a closing paragraph restating interest and thanking them.
  • Do not use your cover letter to repeat or copy what is already on your resume. Instead, highlight impact, achievements, and quantifiable actions.
  • When emailing a recruiter or hiring manager directly, use the body of the email to write two to three sentences that introduce yourself and mention which position you are applying. Include your cover letter and resume as PDF attachments. Do not cut and paste your cover letter into the body of the email.